Designing Friction For A Better User Experience

Allegedly, Facebook did some experimenting on a security checkup process, in which examining the privacy and security settings took only a few milliseconds for the user and wasn’t considered thorough enough. To improve the perception, Facebook added some delay, along with a fake progress bar, so that users could get a better understanding about the thoroughness of this process.

We naturally design to try and reduce friction, yet sometimes friction is needed to actually enhance the user experience. This article by Zoltan Kollin provides a wonderfully comprehensive overview and examples of where adding delays and additional steps is a desirable quality within a product.

Halide: How to Design for iPhone X (without an iPhone X)

Fascinating article from the developers of the highly acclaimed Halide camera app for iOS on how they redesigned the app for the iPhone X before it was even announced.

When it comes to reading, most of us read from left to right, but as humans we reach things from the bottom up.

If you design with this in mind, it’s called ‘Reachable UI’.

This is a way of thinking that more designers need to seriously consider; as devices get taller, interactions need to be increasingly accessible from the bottom of the screen.

I found it was quite difficult to figure out what was ergonomically sound without an actual device to test on.

Then, Ben built an iPhone X.

I love this. Since the app was being designed before the iPhone X had been revealed, let alone shipped, it was absolutely necessary to get a feel for its proportions.

Buttons that require a tap were put in the area that was best for interacting

The bottom quarter of the screen. Makes sense.

We adjusted these to fit the ergonomics of the new device; for exposure adjustment, we ensured you could compensate for at least 5 EV (exposure values) with your thumb, giving you great exposure adjustment without requiring serious finger gymnastics.

The importance of ergonomics within an app’s design cannot be understated. Not only does this make the UI more functional, but to the user the entire app feels like a better thought out and more cohesive experience – not a battle against the screen to access functions.

In the case of Halide, buttons that require taps are in the bottom quarter of the screen, and functions that can be controlled with less accuracy such as a swipe, in the prime space where thumbs can pivot yet don’t need to reach the opposite side of the device.

Testing on a physical mockup proves valuable; speeding up the learning process in-house rather than when the app ships, leading to a better first experience for users.

Comfort | The Next Generation Heating Control

Comfort is a simple, yet powerful control to managing home heating, delivering state of the art features, without requiring a smartphone. Comfort appeals to a wide audience by delivering modern conveniences in a familiar and simple to use package.

The idea for Comfort came after a year of working for domestic heating market leaders; Worcester Bosch as a Product Management Intern with constant exposure to a spectrum of end users and installers from which key insights could be drawn.

Aston Design Show and New Designers Branding

I led the brand team to define the branding aesthetic for Aston University’s exhibitions both at New Designers in London, and the Aston Inspired Design show; held on the university campus in Birmingham.

Each event was a chance for final year product design students to show the general public and potential employers their work, as well as represent the university.

myTrainer

myTrainer guides users through completing exercises, in the correct positions, enabling successful, productive workouts through utilising camera technology in body tracking and depth mapping.

The industry for exercising at home using DVDs or YouTube videos continues to grow, and yet there is no way to tell if you’re working out in the right way. Exercising incorrectly could cause injury through bad posture, or just be ineffective at achieving what the workout was supposed to. This is where myTrainer comes in.

Connected app concept project: Listener

Not everything can be connected into the Internet of Things, or turned into a smart appliance. Listener is the conversion from analogue into digital. It hears and understands the real world so that you can be even more connected to it.

Listener bridges this gap by combining listening hardware with a concept app for the connected world, with the goal of bringing notifications to the things in life that aren’t digital.

The app was prototyped in Sketch and uses Marvel to deliver an interactive demo.

Visual Perception of Cubes

A short task for one of my degree modules was to consider the visual perception of products and designs. This was realised through a brief to design two cubes, one that portrayed qualities that made it seem light and natural, and another that was dependable and reliable.

How can the visual perception of a cube be altered?

Light and Natural

Texture and colour of the material used can alter the perception of a design.

Leading idea: use of natural patterns and colours to perceive the object as an organic body.

Leaf

The use of leaves would form a cube that is semi-translucent, embodying a design that is light, open, and airy. The veins within the leaf is a reminder of its natural origin.

Weave

A pattern such as weave attributes natural characteristics to a cube, brining the impression that although processed by man, organic material resides in its origin.

The use of lightly coloured material as shown on the left portion of the weave gives a lightweight look, whereas a darker shade of the material suggests density and heaviness. 

Light & Natural Cube

Dependable and Reliable

Industrial, man-made aesthetics are what will be key to altering the perception of this kind of cube. Nature is often viewed as delicate, a dependable and reliable cube needs to be the opposite of that.

Dependable1

The first attempt at this cube was somewhat unsuccessful, since although the addition of hinges made the cube appear more durable and better built, there was no connection to the user as to what this cube tried to convey. The initial reaction was ‘why does this cube have hinges on it?’

why does this cube have hinges on it?

From this, I learnt that design values need to be conveyed in a way that is subtle, and not literal.

Leading idea: materials and colours that connote strength and exude qualities that the cube is -man-made.

Construction

Construction turned to become inspiration for the cube, specifically concrete’s prominence in the structure of buildings required to last for decades, suggesting that it as a material is reliable and durable.

In addition to this, concrete is often used in combination with steel as a supporting structure. A cube that carries the connotation of construction, the core of a building, should be successful in conveying dependable and reliable values.

Dependable & Reliable Cube

This Incredible Urban Park Will Be Inside One Of The World’s Busiest Airports

I love this. Design can help us remember who we are and make us more conscious of the world around us.

This Incredible Urban Park Will Be Inside One Of The Worlds Busiest Airports | Co.Exist 

Bringing nature into design allows us to escape the harshness of reality and the busyness of life.

Maybe I just really like green spaces.